Federal Guidelines Preclude Doctors From Using COVID-19 Antibodies from Gay Men or Patients on PrEP

Federal Guidelines, put in place at the height of the AIDS epidemic when ignorance and stigma around the disease were high, mean that doctors today can’t use COVID-19 antibodies from gay men or anyone on PrEP (the dug Truvada).

According to NBC News a gay man who tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies was encouraged to donate blood to Mount Sinai Medical Center. “The Mount Sinai doctors wanted him to donate his blood as quickly as possible so his plasma could be extracted and used in an experimental infusion on critically ill COVID-19 patients. But just a few hours before his appointment, he said he received a call from Mount Sinai saying, “Actually, you’re not going to be able to donate because you are on Truvada.”

The New York Blood Center, which declined to take his blood, said it was following federal and industry guidelines.

“We are accredited by AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) and we follow their protocols, as well as FDA guidelines,” a spokesperson for the center told NBC News. The restrictions date back to 1983 during the height of the AIDS crisis, when the federal government instituted a lifetime ban on blood donations by any man who had ever had sex with another man. That rule, intended to keep HIV out of the blood supply, was replaced in 2015 with a regulation that requires a year of abstinence in order to donate blood.